ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan yesterday rejected the recent report issued by the US Department of State on International Religious Freedom.

The report’s segment on Pakistan is a compendium of unsubstantiated and biased assertions. As a matter of principle, Pakistan does not support such national reports making observations on the internal affairs of sovereign States. Pakistan, therefore, rejects these observations, a foreign office statement said.

Pakistan is a multi-religious, multi-cultural and pluralistic society where people of different faiths are living together. Their contributions to the society add to its richness and diversity. Their rights are guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan.

These constitutional guarantees are underwritten by a vigilant judiciary that has demonstrated resolve to protect the fundamental rights - including religious freedoms - in recent high profile cases, the statement added.

Pakistan is implementing a comprehensive “National Action Plan on Human Rights” with focus on: (i) Policy, Legal Reforms; (ii) Access to Justice; (iii) Implement Key Human Rights priorities; (iv) International/UN Treaty implementation; and (v) Implementation and Monitoring mechanism for the Action Plan. The funds to the tune of PKR 750 Million have been allocated for implementation of the Plan.

Pakistan has always played a positive role and engaged the international community including the U.S. with a view to have better and mutual understanding of the issue of religious freedoms, which are under stress around the world. Pakistan is of the view that all countries are obliged to promote religious harmony and have a duty to protect their citizens in accordance with national laws and international norms, the statement said.

A glaring discriminatory aspect of the report is that it has ignored the systematic persecution of minorities, particularly Muslims, in India, which are subjected to alien domination and foreign occupation such as in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan has often raised its own concerns internationally including with the Western governments and the U.S. over the growing trend of Islamophobia in their own countries. At the United Nations, OIC and other platforms, Pakistan will continue to be part of global efforts to combat religious intolerance, discrimination based on religion and belief and Islamophobia, it said.